Hooray for projects still moving forward—and for positive news that involves cookies: Cafe Flora’s new sibling will open this weekend, on Saturday, January 23. The Flora Bakehouse brings the restaurant’s impressive range of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-averse sweets and pastries to a pocket of the city that could use a neighborly hangout.
Back in summer 2019, owner Nat Stratton-Clarke opened a commissary kitchen at 1511 S Lucile, just around the corner from Cleveland High School, at the very foot of 15th Avenue South where Beacon Hill becomes a portal to Georgetown. He intended this space as a centralized location where his team could prep croissants, cookies, signature vegan cinnamon rolls, and other sweets central to Cafe Flora, Madison Valley’s vegetarian landmark and Floret, its spinoff counter at Sea-Tac.
But of course when you start baking up cookies and pies in a space with huge sidewalk-facing windows, neighbors are going to come calling. Eventually Stratton-Clarke decided to append a little cafe on the end of the building. A striking sign now marks the navy exterior; inside a mural from local artist Carolina Silva feels kin to Floret’s restrained floral vibe. The bakeshop team is readying a glass case full of pastries (from house classics to kouign amann and seasonal specials), plus breakfast sandwiches, Stumptown espresso, and a fair amount of tea options. In a moment when most of us aren't going to the airport, the Bakehouse also serves hummingbird muffins and a few other treats previously only available at Floret, after you clear security.
Flora Bakehouse’s counter service model is a good fit with our current pandemic reality; all orders will be takeout, at least for now. Come late spring (if county health protocols allow), Stratton-Clarke will debut one of the coolest aspects of this new spot: A rooftop garden that runs the length of the building and offers Mount Rainier views and all-day cafe seating.
To nobody’s surprise, All of the Things in 2020 pushed the bakeshop’s opening date back, though its arrival in early 2021 roughly coincides with a significant anniversary for the plant-adorned mothership—Cafe Flora turns 30 this year. The restaurant undoubtedly built its reputation on a full-service menu of careful vegetarian and vegan fare, but over the years, with Floret’s counter-service debut at the airport (and especially in these takeout-centered times) the baked goods became a significant part of the breakfast and brunch equation. Like its predecessors, Flora Bakehouse does plenty of traditional recipes—butter-centric croissants and scones, cookies and savory hand pies. But vegan creations like biscuits and brownies and cinnamon rolls are also pretty impressive; Flora’s lineup also includes gluten-free confections.
Starting Saturday, daily hours will be 7–6. Ogle cinnamon rolls and seasonal offerings on the Flora Bakehouse Instagram.